Moving to Hawaii : What You Must Know About Your Furniture

Do you like surprises?

I’m chuckling at the thought I’m writing a blog post about furniture and moving to Hawaii but after doing a little shopping to find some furniture, I figured it might be very helpful to others getting ready to make the move.

Now, remember, I’m writing from the small island of Kauai so this may not apply to you depending on what island you move to.

Note: I am sharing my own personal experiences and opinions and yours and those of others may vary. 

What I did NOT know about moving to Hawaii without furniture.

If you are planning a move to Hawaii, chances are, you are well aware of the difference in cost of things and the fact that life is different.  You are moving to an island after all.

If you are or were at all like me, you did some Internet research, or perhaps asked friends that made the move already.  You likely read that most recommend NOT taking your furniture with you when moving to Hawaii.  They list the cost of shipping, the cost of storage, and the fact that many places come furnished. 

There are variables to this of course, so anything I share with you here is merely my experience and not written in stone. 

Buying furniture you actually like may take time and be expensive

When I moved to Kauai, the only furniture I brought along was my mattress. I own a Temperpedic and I wasn’t about to do away with that.

Had I known what I know now, I’d have given away all the stuff I actually brought and made room for more furniture items.

Here are a few reasons why: 

  • I had to buy frames for our beds,
  • I had to buy a twin bed and frame for my daughter
  • I had to buy a couch – settled on a $20 hideaway couch at yard sale (for now) and was given a used twin bed set as a result of the purchase. (They wanted to get it moved I’m sure) 
  • I had to buy chairs (my living room couch is tiny – more like a love seat)
  • I had to buy a stand for my 42″ tv 
  • I had to buy a tv. Mine apparently didn’t make the trip and wouldn’t turn on when connected to cable. 
  • I had to buy a desk, office chair and bookcase (brought my file cabinets full of files)
  • I had to buy a kitchen table and chairs (no formal dining room so just one table needed)
  • I chose to buy a patio set for outside as we tend to want to spend most evenings, it’s cooler to be outside than in the house
  • I had to buy beach chairs.  I brought some camping chairs which do just fine, but they aren’t as good in the sand as some backpack type beach chairs.  (had a couple of perfect one’s I didn’t pack and left in my house turned rental) 

Where I began my search 

I began my search for things on Craigslist which is a GREAT source because many people are moving away, downsizing, moving to a different (furnished) rental, etc.

the challenge with Craigslist is that what you want might not be there right away and you’ll need to spend time looking each day or week.

You also have to be okay with buying used (in most cases) and I for one am not crazy about that idea when it comes to mattresses.

You may have to drive a little to get to the item you want and hope you get there first. That may not sound like much until you actually get to the island and realize it will take you 1+ hours to get to Princeville from Koloa and that depends on the time of day you travel. (then there is the return trip)  No freeway here in Kauai.

I also Shopped Online

 It did not take me long to learn that shipping to Hawaii is considered international. I’m serious!

That is when I finally found anyone even willing to ship outside the continental US. 

I actually discovered this when trying to order some special salad dressing I love.  The order was about $50 and the shipping was $50. Fortunately, I called and they shipped it USPS for way cheaper but furniture will NOT be coming USPS.

I Shopped around the island and soon discovered I was limited; 

  • you are limited to island designs and styles
  • they don’t always have what you want
  • best prices are hotel liquidated furniture that has been gently used. 

Options to consider:

You do have some options to consider when moving to Hawaii and deciding to bring your furniture or not. 

#1. you could find a furnished rental. 
There is a great chance of finding a rental already furnished and you won’t have to worry about furniture.  In my own experience, this was a rare occasion but then again, I was looking for pet friendly rentals. 

If you are a small family or just you, a fully furnished condo, apartment, room or small house could be completely furnished for you.  You will have to just like what you get though.

Since we knew no one when moving here, having guests over wasn’t an issue but I just happened to get the couch through a new friend living next door to the yard sale. 

#2. You could take your time and find pieces you like as you live here.
That may mean living unlike you are used to on the mainland.  Frankly, I had to have my bed, and the kitchen table was the next priority for my work and a place to eat meals. 

#3. consider leaving all the other misc stuff behind and bring key furniture pieces you like. 
As I look back, there isn’t much I would have kept and brought. My furniture was all decades old but if you happen to have some nice newer stuff, you might think about it.

I realized once my container got here that I should have left a LOT behind.  Realized I have too many pieces of clothing I’ll probably never wear unless I keep it just for the mainland trips I make.  Way too much in misc stuff that I have no idea where to store in my smaller rental house. (had lots of cupboards in my home in Las Vegas)

#4. Once you do find some furniture, you are going to have to move it.
I moved to Kauai and shipped my Toyota 4runner over.  They are roomy but it won’t hold super large items.

If you are planning on buying anything large, you’ll have to figure out how to move it, hope the seller will haul it, or hire a company to do it for you.

I don’t know first hand, but I’ve heard stories where some moving companies on the island will bring it to your house, apartment etc, but if there is a challenge in getting it up stairs, or around corners, they politely leave it outside and you get to move it.

Fortunately, I made a new friend here on the island, Owners of Coastal Delivery Services



Coastal Delivery Services is a locally owned and operated company in Kauai, HI, that’s committed to helping you with pretty much anything you might need a mover to handle. We can pick up from Pier 1 Imports, Island Liquidators, Costco, and other stores, and deliver to your residence in Kauai. We’ve got you covered when you’re relocating from one place to another whether you’re moving a single piece of furniture, your office, or your whole house.

We’re a full-service moving company, and we show up on time every time. We specialize in:

  • Commercial relocation
  • Residential moving
  • Furniture transport
  • Equipment moving

In Concluding: 

I know I haven’t made it clear in your mind what you should do. I believe that really is a personal decision.  

The good news is, once you make it to the island of Hawaii you are moving to, it won’t matter long. You are now living in Hawaii for goodness sakes. 

I suppose that is why I can say that I now realize I brought way to much stuff with me. Life is simpler now.  I don’t wear what I used to wear (honestly, shorts, tank top and slipper (flip flops) and hair up or pulled back most days.   Cleaning up nice is for church on Sundays which means a little makeup and maybe a sundress with my cleanest slippers (flip flops) lol 

Sure, you’ll need the basics here but unless you are moving to one of the many Million Dollar homes and plan on hosting tons of guests, what ever you end up with will be fine. 

I plan to just grow and scale up as I move along with life here in Kauai. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject on moving to Hawaii and bringing your furniture: 
#1. if you moved, did you bring it with you
#2. if you moved, did you just buy some here
#3.  any recommendations for our readers from YOUR own experience. 

Leave me a comment and share 

Until the next post


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5 thoughts on “Moving to Hawaii : What You Must Know About Your Furniture”

  1. I just discovered your blog through another blog! We moved in December 2014 after selling our home furnished in Washington state. The new buyer was a bachelor and was thrilled to have all the furnishings thrown in. My husband sent 13 boxes through the USPS, those “if it fits, it ships” boxes. I sent my mother’s antique china clock UPS along with a few other items. Our move cost a total of $700, including plane fare. We had already rented a vacation rental studio for 5 months which gave us time to find something that would work for us. It turns out, the 1 bedroom apartment became available in the same cottage so after new floors, some appliances, and countertop were installed, we were ready to move. Unfortunately, the new place wasn’t furnished so we went to Otsukas in Kapaa and bought some furniture. We kept it to a minimum, couch, chair, coffee table, end table, kitchen set, bed. No dresser, we had built in cupboards so we bought baskets that act as our dresser. The rest of the stuff I bought from Amazon, thank goodness for Prime. I had budgeted $15,000 for all furnishings and came in a little over $12,000. We got we wanted, rattan, tropical, real nice. Art came from the thrift shop in Kilauea! Breakable stuff came from Kmart. Days are spent on Anini with our used kayaks and lounge chairs from Kmart. We are fully retired now and loving every day we are here in Princeville. Best move we ever made. We live simply and rather inexpensively. No penny pinching but needs and wants change.

    1. WOW> it Joy…and yes, I too have made the choice to live life more simply. Priorities have changed but I wouldn’t change a thing, and frankly, being near the ocean, hiking the land, means more than fancy things and home. I live in Koloa, about to move to Kapaa because my landlord sold my rental. I did not come as prepared as you, but have managed, and just recently started selling what I bought for this house as I get ready to move to a new one that is more furnished. (been living in boxes last week or so since I sold my bedroom set) 🙂

  2. It is really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love your website, a lot of useful information. Thank you. We are preparing to move and so confuse of what to do. These tips are very helpful for us.

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